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8>. ; popular edition, M, 

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t5iit /Injiel anl) 
t5be 0tar 





ps 'BUS 







corVKiGirr, 1908, Westminster company, ltd. 


^'HE day's work was done in Bethlehem. The sound 
of hammer and of loom, the cries of hawkers and 
of traders, the noises of the bustling crowds that 
thronged the tortuous streets were still. With the 
sunset, rest had come to the workers— not to all. In 
the little house of the Chief Shepherd in charge of the 
sacrificial flocks there was a stir, for he was about to 
depart for his nightly watch on the plains below the 

Of the royal line of David, he bore in his face and 
carried in his mien the marks of his noble blood. His 
wife, also of this royal line, waited upon her lord at his 
evening meal, pausing now and then to hush the feeble 
wail of the babe she carried with her to and fro. 
Upon her husband's face a heavy shadow lay, for 
his heart was hot and his spirit bitter within him. 
Long before, his independent carriage and proud spirit 
had drawn the persecuting wrath of Herod, for no 
one of noble blood was safe from the fierce suspicions 
and savage jealousy of that Idumean usurper. His 
only safety had been in submission, bitter to his soul ; 


and ever and again the servile courtiers of that mon- 
strous, blood-reeking tyrant found much pleasure and 
some profit in harrying still further the humbled man. 
By the cloud upon his face his gentle wife knew that 
some fresh outrage had been done that day, and with 
wise and loving words she strove to lure his mind to 
the serene heights of faith and hope. She talked of 
the gathering of their tribe for the Roman taxing into 
their ancient royal city, and of the glories of their past. 
The shadow only deepened upon her husbwid's face. 
Well she knew his thought. 
" Jehovah reigneth," she quoted. 
" Verily the signs of His Kingdom are few," he re- 
plied bitterly. 

"He shall judge His people with righteousness," 
again she quoted. 

" Righteousness ! " he cried. " There is none in this 
land any more. 'The wicked walk on every side' 
when the vilest men are exalted." 
" Hush ! " she said, gently closing the door. 
" Righteousness ! " he exclaimed bitterly again. 
" Not so loud, I entreat thee. The Roman guard 
hath just gone by." 

"The Roman? I fear him not He is just at 
heart The Roman lion fears not the strong, and 
seizes what he desires. But these jackals of Herod 
plunder and harry the weak and broken of the flock. 
To-day they made fresh demands, and, remembering 
thee, I smote them not, but paid my toll, while they 
taunted me 'Where is thy God ?'" Then after long 
silence he burst forth, "Lord Jehovah, how long? 



Wilt Thou be angry for ever ? How long wilt Thou 
hear the bitter cry of Thy people ? Pour out Thine 
indignation upon them. Let Thy burning anger take 
hold upon them. Let their habitation be desolate. 
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living," 
His voice rose and fell in the terrible chant of the 
Hebrew poet-king of old. 

" Why didst thou cease ? " she chided gently. 
" Doth not the words follow, ' For Jehovah heareth 
the poor. God will save Jerusalem and will build the 
cities of Zion ' ? And again, ' He shall judge the poor. 
He shall save the children of the needy, and shall 
break in pieces the oppressor.' " 

" Will He, indeed, break Herod and his might in 
pieces, with great Rome behind him ? " he asked, rising 
to take his staff and his cloak as well, for the nights 
were chilL 

" Yea, verily, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken 
it. The Angel of the Covenant is mighty ,'' she replied. 

" Angel ? " he questioned, " Priest Ezra says there 
are none, and I confess I never saw any.'' 

A quick anger flashed in her face. " It is written, 
'Thou shalt not speak evil of thy rulers,' but the 
Sadducee I believe not. Did not the Angel speak with 
Abraham our father, and with Jacob at Bethel, and 
with Moses the man of God at the Bush, and with 
Gideon, and with the holy prophets ? " 

"That is all far away from us to-day," he replied 

" But Jehovah is near us," she answered quickly. 
" Nay, do not yield to unbelief. See," with a swift 


change of tone and holding up her babe, "he seems 
stronger, he smiles at thee. Jehovah keep him safe • " 
« lor what?" he asked bitterly, but he laid down 
the staff and took the babe. Reverently lifting his 
eyes he mvoked blessing, "Jehovah grant thee p^ace," 
and gave him to his mother. But the babe, to his 
fathers joy, clung fast, till with penUe force the 
mother took it from his arms. 

"Come to thy mother, child. Thy father must go 
to his sheep, to ward off the fierce beasts and the fierce 
robbers And indeed, I often fear for thee, my hus- 
band, till I cannot sleep." 

" -^"M «^* ' " '"''' ^^^ ^^»^nd, his gloomy mood 
passing. "What of thy faith now? What of thy 
God and His angels ? " ' 

" Ah yes, thou hast well said. ' He shall give His 
angels charge over thee.' I wiU not fear." 

" Angels again ! " 

« Yes, 'He shall give His angels charge over thee to 

S^thtT"'" **^''' ""'^ ** *° "" ""^^ ^ "'"■ 

"One anpl at least I know, nay two," he said, 
kissing his babe agaii. ' 

"Go, haste. I shall watch thee down the hill 
And His angels guard thee safe." 

fwu''t'?^"i""''^ *"™''^ fr"™ *« street into the 
paUi that led far out on to the sloping hills lying dim 
and distant, then turned with a sigh to her little homo, 
ner sick babe in her arms. 

.hrSdt KZ °^">^^-'^-'-^ W be delayed." 

r.lK SIlKlMlKlll. ..AY WITH 111, KKI.I.OW HAT.IIKIIS »N TllK 


»»,^^"T .*'"'""'*"''• "'"■'^'"g <'°*n the highway 
that led out into the country. «w Wore him a STu J 

chaffTn- T "'^*^"' ^"' ""'""^ bargainbf^S 
chaffering for a lodging. In vain they pled. In vSn 

£;^rS'inr '^""^ -"^^^^ "p- ^^ 

«(irT^*Lr"'1, T' ""^ '"**''«"?'' he protested. 
rooTto rt *i " '«'*? _,% house i, filled from 

th™^ T^IS^""!,' ^"* '* " »*"« than the street." 
they grumbled, and poured in. 

Two had stood apart from the rude crt.wd. a man 

Mid a woman, the man in sore distress. 

"Brother," he entreated, drawing near to the inn- 

te'n'" ^r "r* "^ ''''^'''•'^' •" the name of our 
fether David, I beseech thee hear me and gra.>t u. 
«wne quiet spot, not for myself, but for the woman, 
who IS as you see." 

tumS '^'■^u'^' "°""« ^'^ """"«'' *hose face was 
turned quickly away, paused. That face by its sweet 

topped abruptly "There is no place for wife and 
child of my own to lay their head. But," cLncinK 

sorrow, "there ,s-- once more he hesitated, "thf 
«table-and fresh fodder; at least it is quiet." 
Quickly the woman turned to her husband and 


whispered a word, then bending her head with un- 
apeakable grace she murmured, "The Lord give thee 
peace. The God of our father David bless thee," and 
moved towards the stable, followed by her husband. 

The innkeeper stood silent with bared and bent 
head while she passed, awed by the dignity of that 
gentle face, and touched by her need. 

" Now may the God of Abraham and Sarah grant 
thee mercy," he murmured, looking after them. 

"Who are they?" asked the Shepherd reverently, 
for he too had uncovered his head as they passed. 

" Nay," answered I he innkeeper testily, " dost think 
I know every travellar from the north country ? But 
I must go and make what comfort I can for them.'' 

Long after the Shepherd lay with his fellow watchers 
on the hillside, the vision of that face, with its gentle 
dignity and it« foreshadow of pain, kept coming to him. 
He would havd gone home to his wife for her help, but 
he dared not leave his place. But the thought of the 
woman haunted him, the music of her voice in blessing 
still sounded in his ears, "Jehovah give thee peace." 
Was there anything in it? Again his old harassing 
doubts and his bitter thoughts came hard upon him, 
forbidding the sleep that had fallen upon his fellow 
watchers, while through his heart echoed the ancient 
taunt, "Where is thy God?" Was Jehovah in 
very deed keeping watch over Israel? How then of 
the Roman oppression, the degradation of the ancient 
Throne of David in the pagan Herod, the barrenness 
of the Pharisaic legalism, the worldly scepticism of the 
Sadducee ? 


*i,?^,^ '*i".Y ^^ *''• "'K'"- H« w-Jd hear 
the breathing of the .heep r him. the lonely cry 
of the jackal from the canyon. Gradually under the 
tranquil silence of the night hn troubled heart mw 
quiet The wng of his great ancestor, himself a 
Aephenl, came to him, "Jehovah is my shepherd. I 

*5 JL'^'t/Tu'" T^ "^^ **» P^« His ang;,ls 
cha^. He thought of his wife's faith. The aneeU 
might well enough be about her. The face of the 
woman in the street so near her sorrow came to him. 
in that face he found the same suggestion of the 
presence and peace of Jehovah. ITirough the great 
past of his people his mind traveUed. The great men 
^ his race were great only at. they held to Jehovah. 
Yes. and tven in the darkest days there had been those 
who had dared to believe in Jehovah and to wait for 
Him. He thought of Jacob at Bethel, Moses in the 
desert far south yonder with his flocks, of David 
hunted by his enemy and again by his own son, of 
Israel m Babylonian exile, yet Jehovah had never quite 
forsaken, but in the darkest hour the Angel of the 
Covenant had comforted them. Jehovah had redeemed 
His people. Might it not be again ? Never had 
darker days fallen for the people of God, their land 
under a foreign yoke, their people torn by religious 
dissensions, their religious leaders fiercely fighting each 
other for place and power or consumed with lust for 
gold. He bowed his face between his knees and cried 
out into the night, «0 Lord, how long? Wilt 
Thou be angry for ever? Hast Thou fonjotten to be 
gracious ? " r. u^ 


A» if in aiuwer, a great calm fell upon him. A 
ludden faith lubdued hii wul into itillneis. " I will 
.remember the yean of the most High. I will re. 
member thy wonden of oM." Jehov^ teemed very 

He rote and itood with hit face wrapped in hit 
mantle. Hb very toul teemed to be liitening for the 
fbotfalli of God. All nature teemed to be aware of 
tha» Great Pret-nce. About him he fancied ho could 
hear the breathing of the hills, the heart-beat of the 
night, the music of the stars. Music f Hark ! He 
threw back his mantle and lifted up his face to the 
start. His toul was ba*thed in a flood of ineffable joy. 
What was it ? Music seemed to be raining from the 
stars in an exquisite faintness of melody ; fa)m beyond 
the stars, so far and fine it seemed. He listened, his 
soul and being tense in a quivering agony to hear. 
Ves, there again and fuller came the sounds, still from 
beyond the stars. But the very stars teemed nearer, 
the heavens above had bent closer to the hills, as if to 
take them into their embrace. Again and yet again 
and ever clearer that falling shower of song filled the 
ai' about him, and nearer and nearer came 'he stars 
irradiating the night 

The sleeping watchers woke, startled, rose, stood 
voiceless and terror-stricken. And now from the 
parted curtains of heaven a light began to glow 
brighter than the stars, making a shining pathway to 
earth, and spreading over all the sky till it filled the 
night with glory ; and down this quivering pathway 
myriads of shining ones streamed till ihey filled the 



earth and the spaces between earth and sky, and still 
they thronged in the far vanishing spaces of the opened 
heavens. Ravishing music smote in soft waves upon 
the ears of the Shepherd gazing into this cloud of 
glory, and filled his soul with a joy fearful and un- 
speakable. From every side seemed to come those 
wondrous harmonies, not from the Heavenly choirs 
alone but from the earth, the trees, the hills, yes, 
from the very blades of grass. Suddenly, out from 
the throbbing music a voice broke clear and strong. 
" Fear not," it said, and the Shepherd's heart grew 
quiet, " I bring you good tidings of great joy which 
shall be to all people, for to you is born this day in 
the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the 

At that word there burst from Heaven a mighty 
chorus : 

" Glory to God. in the highest 
On earth peace. 
Good-will to men." 

Over and over again pealed forth the mighty chorus in 
antiphonal refrain ; earth from its central depths, from 
its hills and valleys, from its rocks and trees, answering 
Heaven's celestial choirs. Prone upon their faces fell 
the Shepherd and his comrades, faint with ecstasy of 
delight. When they awoke, they said one to the 
other, "What is this?" and one said, "Is it a 
vision ? " 

"It is a dream," answered another. "It is but a 


Then spake the Chief Shepherd, " Nay, verily it is no 
dieam, but Jehovah hath visited His people. Let us 
now go even unto Bethlehem and ses this thing that is 
come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." 

Already the day was dawning. Through the break 

in the eastern hills a silver light could be seen gleaming 

upon the Sea of Judgment far away, upon the northern 

Judean hills a faint flush from the rising sun, and 

over city and plain the new glory of a dawning day. 

But, all unheeding, the Shepherd hastened homeward 

in a trance of ecstatic joy and wonder. The great 

tidings still sounded in his soul. At last the Messiah, 

Israel's Messiah, had come. After so many ages and 

generations of passionate yearning and prayer, Grod 

had visited His people. And oh, wonder of wonders ! 

As a babe ! A babe ! He thought of his own feeble 

babe with new tenderness and new reverence, and of 

the mother that gave him birth. And in a manger ! 

A manger for the Messiah ! Why not in a palace ? 

Ah, what palace ? Not the gorgeous palace where the 

monstrous Herod luxuriated in his hideous infamies. 

After all, a stable was best ! He needed no trappings 

of royalty that earth could give. He brought His 

glory with Him. A babe ! and in a manger ! Again he 

hastened his steps towards his own door. As he drew 

near a sound from within smote his heart with the 

chill of the grave. It was the wail for the dead. 

Like the stab of a sword the contrast pierced his heart. 

Yonder— joy, peace, life ; here— grief, agony, death. 


He paused, turned and looked back upon the plain 
behind where the vision had fallen. Once more he 
saw the open heaven, still he could hear the ravishing 
song, « Peace, good-will to men." He was strangely 
comforted. Earth, its sorrows and its joys, seemed 
small to him who had been gazing into Heaven's 
glory, and listening to Heaven's music and welcoming 
Heaven's King. 

He passed into his home. At his coming the wailing 
only took a shriller note. With outstretched arms his 
wi: came to him, dreading his agony, fearing for his 
faith, praying for his submission. 

With a single word he silenced the mourners. 

"Peace, He is come." Amazed they gazed upon 
him. Fearful, his wife drew near. Had madness seized 
him P 

"Fear not, but rejoice, the Messiah is come," he 
said, his face filled with a wondering exultation and 
joy. " Death hath no longer power over Life. From 
Heaven the Prince of Life is come. And with Jehovah 
are the living for evermore." 

And, standing there, to their astonished ears he 
told the wondrous story. A babe ! a manger ! Speech- 
less, afraid and unbeliev' ^, the mourners stole from 
the house, leaving the tw, ,fith their dead alone. 

Timidly she touched his arm as he stood wrapped 
in silence. « Tell me, my lord, can it be true ? How 
can it be ? " 

"True, dear one? Yea, verily, but how J know 
not. What we heard and saw that I have told you, 
and yonder in the stable lies the babe." 


The babe ! Alive in its mother's arms ! Her arms 
were empty. Quickly her husband gathered her to his 

"Dear one, I cannot weep to-day because of the 
great joy that has come. And even though death 
has touched our babe, death's victory is gone. They 
live, they live whom God hath loved. A babe's hand 
hath opened to me the gates of life. Listen, dear 
heart," and once more he told the story of the Angel's 
visit, of the glory and the song, while she wondered 
till her pain grew less, though tears still fell upoi. the 
little sleeping face. " And in the stable we found the 
babe and the mother— and in sore need." A wise 

wofyI \\, WAS 

" Ah," her woman's heart awoke, " May we go to 
her ? " she asked. 

"Come," he said. 

" Wait for me," she said softly. From a closet m 
the wall she took the little garments she had made 
with tei der hopes but a few months ago, her tears 
falling fast the while, and wrapping them up with 
some woman's robing, she went forth. 

" Guard the house," said her husband to the lingering 
and pitying mourners, "but wail not for the dead to-day." 

And so through the still, silent streets they went. 

At the stable door they found a man. 

« May she enter ? She has lost faer babe." 

Quickly the kind face, radiant with light and love, 
shadowed for an instant but cleared again. 

« Jehovah give thee peace," he said. " Weep no more, 
for He is come. Enter." 


An hour passed while the Shepherd waited, reverent 
as at the court of the Most Holy Place. Then came 
forth his wife and put hev hand in his. 

" Is it well ? " he asked simply. 

"It is well," she replied. And he needed no 
more, for Jehovah's peace lay like a light upon her 

And so they passed back to their home with the 
Angel's song chanting itself through their hearts, "Glory 
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will 
toward men." 

For where the Christ comes death hath no more 
dominion for ever. 



T'HE city of Jerusalem was troubled, was deeply 
troubled. Through its crowded streets had run 
a rumour that had kindled to flame the national 
Messianic hopes. A distinguished embassy from a 
far East land had come two nights ago, upon a strange 
quest. They had come seeking a King. At first men 
had laughed, but tl"> grave majesty of the strangers, 
and the costly trapL .igs of their caravan, had changed 
the laughter to serious attention, and before the first 
iiight had gone, the streets and markets, the bazaars 
and wineshops were thrilling with the news. From the 
street to the Palace the ramour had run, and Herod 
himself, at first scornful, had deigned to summon the 
travellers to his presence. To-day at early dawn a 
strange thing had happened. The Great Council had 
been called by the King. That Idumean usurper, un- 
certain of his throne, hated by his people, despised Sy 
the noble families as an upstart, loathed by the priests 
as an apostate trembled at every breath of Messianic 
enthusiasm, at every suggestion of a rival. He had 
shown his fear by summoning the Great Council. This 
whole day had they been in session. Jerusalem was 
well nigh mad with anxiety. 


The appearance of a Messianic leader, the sounding 
of one clear Messianic cry through these streets, and 
Jerusalem would run with blood. No wonder Jerusalrm 
was troubled. \Vhat would the next hour bring? In 
tense fear they waited. What would come forth from 
that fortress Palace ? 

Night was falling, when from the gorgeous Palace 
gates came forth the Embassy from the East, travel- 
worn but stately, and following them the Council. In 
a moment from lip to lip ran the word that nothing 
need be feaied. And all Jerusalem, the light-hearted" 
gay, fiercely religious, cosmopolitan city, relaxed itself 
in scornful laughter at its recent panic. What fools 
they had been ! A few foolish astrologers had seen a 
star in the East and had guessed a King was to be bom. 
What accursed folly was this ! But what could you ex- 
pect of these Gentile dogs, and worshippers of idols ? 

And now they were gone seeking their King in 
Bethlehem ! In Bethlehem ! as if a King could there 
be born and Jerusalem and its wise and learned scribes 
be unaware. And Jerusalem turned to its bargaining 
and sacrificing, its praying and its wine-drinking, much 

In due time that strange caravan had reached the 
terraced hills of Bethlehem. No need of guide, for once 
free of the city steadily burned before them a wondrous 

Bethlehem was puzzled. Whence came these strange 
men .? And w'lo was that majestic figure in command ? 
The rabble gathered about them. At the inn they 


Their leader of kingly carriage and of patriarchal 
mien gave command. The beasta were unburdened, 
and from the load one hamper wa» selected and 
brought near. 

The innkeeper with obsequious hospitality offered 
thelter and refreshment. But the little company drew 
together and talked. 

« How shall we make approach ? " said one. «' Who 
will bring us to Him ?" Then after some grave and 
earnest deliberation, their leader turned to the inn- 
keeper. ^ 

"Can we find one to present us to the King? 
he asked in the Hebrew tongue. 

" The King ? " said the innkeeper. » What King ? " 
•'The King of the Jews." 

" Nay," laughed the innkeeper scornfully, " he lives not 
in so humble a place as Bethlehem, though yonder is 
a palace he has built. In Jerusalem you will find the 
King of the Jews, not here." 

'•Nay, friend," the leader answered with grave 
dignity, " He is here, bom, and yonder is His star." 

" His star ! " cried the innkeeper. " Now Jehovah 
defend us. Thou art mad. Whence art ye ? " 

" From the rising sun. Many weeks have we travelled 
seeking this King, for we saw the rising of His star in 
the East long months ago." 

" His star ? Are ye then of those who follow such 
accursed vanities and worship the abominations of the 
heathen ? If so, there is no place for ye in my inn." 

"Nay, we worship God," reverently replied the 
stranger with unruffled calm, "and would fain do 

hi: .v>ki:i> in mik hkiikku 


honwg* to Hit nMMenger, the King of the Jewi, 
whow (tar we have fuHoweid rrom JeniMlem to thii 

**Kiiig of the Jewt?" impatiently replied the inn- 
keeper. "Here, ihepherd," he called to the Giief 
Shepherd of the lacrificial flock, who wai paning to 
hii nightly watch, " thou art skilled in these matter*. 
What means t'.iis folly of the stars ? " 

The Shepherd turned to the Man of the East and 
gravely saluted him. 
" Jehovah give thee peace. What wouldst thou f " 
" We come seeking the King of the Jews, for in a 
land far from this we saw, many months ago, the rising 
of His star, and we have come to do Him homage. 
But no man can we find who can give us guiding to 
his presence, not even Herod." 

"Herod!" exclaimed the Shepherd scornfully. 
"Sought ye a King from that usurper?" 

"Hush," saiu the innkeeper, glancing about upon 
the crowd. "Thou art mad to speak thus in the 

" But," continued the Man of the East. " his Coun- 
cil directed us to Bethlehem, saying it was there the 
King was to be bom." 
" Bom ! " said the Shepherd quickly. 
"Yea, and as we left the city His star appeared 
again, and lo ! there it stands over that house before 
us. But we have none to bring us fittingly to Him." 

The Shepherd stood silent as in a great maze, look- 
ing at the luminous star that hung low over the house. 
" Truly this is wonderful," he said slowly, " for in that 


house abides a Babe with its mother, at whose birth 
strange things came to pass. But how came ye to 

" Yonder is His star," calmly said the Man from the 

" His star ! what has he to do with stars ? " 

" Ay, verily, and so said I," interrupted the innkeeper. 
" lliese be cursed and unclean worshippers of the host 
of heaven." 

" Nay, friend, we worship God and seek His anointed, 
the King of the Jews. Knowest thou this mother and 
this Babe? " he said to the Shepherd. 

" I know the Babe and the mother ; come," and 
he led them to the house where the young Child was 
and departed to his nightly watch deeply musing. 
Truly mystery deepened about this Babe. How 
wonderful that these Gentiles in their far country 
should have come to know of Him ! How wonderful 
they should have found their way to Bethlehem ! Their 
story of the Star meant little to the Shepherd. For 
him the stars had no message, and yet as he stood upon 
his lonely hillside gazing upward at the splendid pageant 
of the night the words of his ancestor the Poet-King 
came to him : 

"When I consider Thy Heavens, 
The moon and the stars that Thou didst ordain! 
What is man that Thou art mindful of him. 
And the son of man that Thou visitest him ! " 

Never again would the old doubts harass him. That 
night of glorious vision had changed all things. Jehovah 


had visited His people. Heaven with its stars, Earth 
with Its pecples would henceforth seem nearer to him 
and dearer, and Jehovah would for ever seem his Friend. 
An hour passed when the fretful voice of the innkeeper 
roused him. 

« Hither Shepherd, and relieve me of this mad star- 
gazer, for he would take no rest nor give me any till 
I had brought him to thee." 

" Be at peace, friend," said the Man of the East, 
placing a piece of gold in his hand. " Now go." 

The tone and gesture of command struck the inn- 
keeper dumb, and murmuring a word of thanks, he 
hastily retired, leaving the two upon the starlit hillside 

" Listen, my brother," said the Man from the East, 
"for I would speak with thee, and I cannot rest till I 
know what my heart craves." He paused, then said 
abruptly, " Tell me of this Babe ; of His birth." 

The Shepherd hesitated. " Why should 1 tell thee? 
thou art not of T' n I." 

" Thou hast t : i oken, yet shouldst thou tell me." 
" And wherefor 

" For two reasons. Thou knowest thy law concern- 
ing the stranger ? " The Shepherd bowed assent. "I 
am a stranger and in deep need." Touched by the 
pathetic dignity of that simple appeal the Shepherd 
took his hand in sympathy. « And further if this Babe 
indeed be Messiah to Israel then surely He is to more 
than Israel. Else what mean these words of thine 
ancient prophets, 'In Him shall the Gentiles trust' 
and again, 'They that dwell in the wilderness shall 


bow before Him.' If He be thy Messiah, then to-night 
is this Scripture fulfilled." 

The Shepherd pondered. "Surely thou art no 
worshipper of false gods." 

" Nay ; I worship God," simply interposed the Man 
of the East. 

« And more," continued the Shepherd, as if to him- 
self, "the song said, ' Good-will to men.'" 

"Tell me," entreated the stranger, his proud face 
softened by pain to humility, "for my heart is heavy 
from long years of agony." 

But the age-long Jewish hate and jealous scorn ot 
the Gentile held the Shepherd silent. To spealc of 
Israel's Messiah to this alien and worshipper of stars, 
to him seemed sacrilege. 

« Let me tell thee my story," said the Man of the 
East at length, " perhaps then thy hard heart shall 
melt." And to the shuddering ears of the Shepherd 
he told a tale of sin and lust and blood and treachery 
so terrible that it seemed to defile the very night. 

"Then when I had drunk the dregs, my heart 
within me woke and cried for vengeance till I grew 
mad with desperate remorse. In vain I offered sacri- 
fices upon the altars of the gods ; in vain I poured 
forth treasure at the bidding of their priests. Deeply 
I studied, many lands I travelled seeking peace, but 
ever that cry of vengeance night and day echoed 
through the spaces of my soul, till life became one long 
agony. The mysteries of our religion I mastered, the 
wisdom of the heavens I searched, but found no help. 
At length to the wisest and the best of the priesthood 


of our luiiil I went, an old man who lived remote 
from the world's fevers and ambitions, its joys and 
griefs. I told him my story. Swift was his answer 
' What thou lovest best, offer that to God and thou 
shalt find jieace.' Like a sword in my bones was that 
word, for I had but one son, a beautiful youth. I 
turned away from the priest with my sin and my agony 
upon me. Vainly I sought escape! Vainly I sought 
peace ! Then I remembered thy Abraham, and, for 
the sin of my soul, I offered the fruit of my bmly. Ah ! 
My son ! My son ! But even that sacrifice availed not. 
From that high altar I came down cursing the gods of 
my people, an<l determined that I should seek no longer 
peace in life but death. That night, as I swept the 
heavens in my last study of the mysteries, my eye 
caught the rising of a star of wondrous light and 
beauty. As if from Heaven a voice cried, ' Follow 
where I lead,' and faint hope trembled in my heart. 
I knew that somewhere a Great One was to he 
born who might have help for me. But where > All 
books I studied in the light of my knowledge of the 
stars, till in thy sacred Ixioks I read thus of thy coming 
King. ' The Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings 
to the brightness of thy rising.' And again, 'From 
the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the 
same My name shall be great among the Gentiles, and 
in every place incense shall be offered unto My name 
and a peace offering, for My name shall be great 
among the heathen, saith Jehovah of hosts.' I obeyed 
the leading of the Star, and following, we have 
fou-- J Him. And now we have done our homage 



and offi-red our gifts. But still my hearths anguish h 
unappcosed. The King has come truly whose Kingdom 
shall rule over all Kingdoms. But what of my sin ? " 

The Shepherd was deeply moved at the marvellous 
and terrible story. 

" Said she naught of sins ? " he asked. 

*' Nay, we spoke little. In a King's presence we 
are silent. But if thou hast aught to tell, send me not 
bick unhelped, for my sin is more than I can bear." 

The agony in his face touched the Shepherd's heart. 
He forgot his Jewish prejudice. "Listen," he said, 
and told the story of the angels and the song. 

With eager face the stranger listened, deeply 
anxious, deeply perplexed. When the tale was done 
there was long silence, then the Man of the East 
spoke. " Good-will to men ! a Saviour ! Good ! But 
angels ! 1 know naught of them." 

" Nor I of stars." 

A light broke upon the swarthy face of the Mac of 
the East. " Oh," he cried aloud, " but thee an Angel 
and me a Star led to the King. Praised be God ! " 

Then after long musing he spake with trembling 
voice, "Oh, my brother! can it be — thinkest thou — 
can there be with God for the sinful — peace?" 

" Yea verily. It is written ' with Thee there is 
forgiveness that Thou may est be feared.'" 

" But how ? " 

" By confession and sacrifice," the Shepherd had 
almost answered, but remembering the stranger's 
terrible story he hesitated, then said, " Hope thou in 


- In Jehovrfil" replirf the ttimnger Mdly, «thy Godl" 

" Verily and the God of thi«B»be." 

'*Ah! the King of the Jewi r 

« Ye« I and ' in Him ihaU the Gentiles tnwt'" 

Tfce itimi^ stood long silent gazing across the hills 
at tin wondrous Star. Then he took the Shepherd's 
hand. «Jehovah tty God bless thee," hts said, his 
jrmce vibrating and deep. "In Jehovah and in His 
King there is hope. I shall try to be content" 

"Jehovah give thee peace," replied the Shepherd. 
Ijien they parted. 

"Stay," said the Shepherd. The stranger turned. 

" Spoke the mother the name of the Babe ?" 

"Yea. ItisJeshua." 

" Knowest thou how it was (riven ? " 


"An Angel said, ♦He should save His people from 
their sins.'" "^ 

The dark-faced man drew near. « Tell me again," he 
entreated with trembling lips. " What said the An^?" 

"Thou shalt call his name Jeshua, for He shall save 
His people from their sins." 

Then broke the suanger's proud reserve. The 
fountain of his tears were broken up. He turned 
toward the Star, and prostrating himself, he wor- 
dUpped. Then with reverent grace he kissed the 
Miepherd, weeping, and went his way. 

" Is it peace ? " spake the Shepherd after him. 

" It is peace ! " came back from the star-lit darkness, 
md gazing at the Star the Shepherd wondered and 
bowed his head and worshipped. 


■ Afri.I., WATiOM AMI VINCT, I.D.,